Can siblng be required to reimburse estate for personal expenditures prior to parent's death? 24 Answers as of July 18, 2013

Brother, age 58, lived with mother for several years prior to mother's death at age 80 after suffering mild - moderate dementia for 3 years. During that time, brother was completely supported by mother, attended an out of state law school for 4 years, paid for by mother, and helped himself to hundreds of thousands of dollars of mother's funds to finance extensive personal and "business" world travel. The little cash left at Mother's death was distributed per her will. I am sad and shocked to learn the extent and nature of brother's spending. Mother expressed concern over how quickly her cash was spent, but believed she was helping brother develop a law practice. Brother asserts that Mother approved of his attendance at numerous global ufology conferences (monthly meetings in Europe) and large cash donations to ufology research to "develop his law practice") Mother had dementia. Brother gradually took over Mother's finances, although no POA. Did bro take advantage and should he reimburse the estate?

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Law Office of Pamela Braynon | Pamela Y. Braynon
Yes he did but proving it without your mother will be difficult.
Answer Applies to: Florida
Replied: 7/18/2013
Goldsmith & Guymon
Goldsmith & Guymon | Dara Goldsmith
Probably, but you need to consult with an attorney where your mother lived to address the specific causes of action that may be pursued, possible remedies and the costs associated with litigating he same.
Answer Applies to: Nevada
Replied: 7/16/2013
Law Office of Thomas C. Phipps | Thomas C Phipps
You are going to have to file a case in probate court to determine what all of the beneficiaries should get. You will also need to hire an attorney who practices probate law.
Answer Applies to: Missouri
Replied: 7/14/2013
Meissner, Joseph & Palley | Sasha D. Collins
Your mother may make gifts during her lifetime that advantage one child over the other. If that was her intent, you may not seek reimbursement from your brother. However, if your brother was spending your mother's money without her permission or if she did not have the capacity to make financial decisions and/or his behavior was unreasonably coercive you make have an action against your brother for undue influence.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 7/14/2013
Danville Law Group | Scott Jordan
Based on what you have written, your brother probably committed financial elder abuse. You should seek a consultation with an attorney who specializes in elder abuse. Your brother could be held to reimburse the entire amount taken from your mother to the estate and would forfeit his right to inherit.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 7/12/2013
    Charles M. Schiff, Attorney at Law
    Charles M. Schiff, Attorney at Law | Charles M. Schiff
    It surely sounds like Bro took advantage of Mother. That does not automatically mean that he will be required to reimburse the estate. Someone could make a report to the police. Taking advantage of a vulnerable adult is a form of theft. It is also possible that the Personal Representative of the estate could sue Bro in the process of collecting the estate's assets. It sounds, however, like the remaining estate has already been distributed. Was this pursuant to probate? This may mean that the process of collecting money owed to the estate has passed.
    Answer Applies to: Minnesota
    Replied: 7/12/2013
    Reger Rizzo & Darnall LLP | Kathleen DeLacy
    Well it sounds like he did take advantage but you would have to prove that your mother did not give him the money. That would be hard now that she is deceased. You may want to talk to her doctors, etc. to see how lucid she was in her last years. But again, difficult to prove.
    Answer Applies to: Delaware
    Replied: 7/12/2013
    Law Office Of Victor Waid
    Law Office Of Victor Waid | Victor Waid
    Yes, sounds like your brother embezzled your mother's estate, without her mental capacity to make appropriate fact based financial decisions re her son's expenditure of her assets. You should contact an aggressive elder abuse attorney, to consider filing a law suit against him; Also consider filing a complaint with the state Bar of California, the licensing agency for lawyers to practice law, including any other state he may be licensed into have his license revoked. Lastly, your brother leaves himself legally exposed for a serious criminal action, as he didn't have a Power of Attorney to manager her finances and committed financial abuse. Consider filing a criminal complaint with the county district attorney.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 7/12/2013
    Darrell B. Reynolds, P.C. | Darrell B. Reynolds
    He has no obligation to pay unless the funds he received was a loan. If not a loan no obligation to repay.
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 7/12/2013
    Frederick & Frederick PLC | James P Frederick
    It sounds like your brother clearly "took advantage." But it also sounds like your mother allowed this to happen. If she gave him the money, even if she complained about it, then there may be little you can do. If she was incapacitated and he took advantage of that, then it could be considered a form of elder abuse. It sounds like a really tough call in your case, and there may be other facts which would tip the scale, one way or another. It does not sound like a quick, easy or inexpensive case.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 7/12/2013
    Law Offices of Gerald A. Bagazinski
    Law Offices of Gerald A. Bagazinski | Gerald A. Bagazinski
    You should contact an attorney.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 7/12/2013
    Law Offices of George H. Shers | George H. Shers
    Unfortunately, this sounds like the common unfairness that occurs in families that the worst child takes the most. Unless you can show that she was so impaired as not to know what he was doing and you say she did know-you can not show elder abuse [if convicted of a felony or crime involving moral turpitude as elder abuse is he would lose his law license so you might be able to hold this over his head to try to get a settlement].
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 7/11/2013
    James Law Group
    James Law Group | Christine James
    He likely took advantage but it will be difficult to prove. You can meet with an attorney to discuss a financial elder abuse claim and give them more facts. Otherwise you may just have to let it go.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 7/11/2013
    Minor, Bandonis and Haggerty, P.C.
    Minor, Bandonis and Haggerty, P.C. | Brian Haggerty
    Sure sounds like it. Contact a lawyer immediately, as statutes of limitations may be passing. Basically, brother is going to say that Mom wanted to help him out, and she certainly had the right to spend her money as she pleased. You will have to show that this was not as Mom wanted.
    Answer Applies to: Oregon
    Replied: 7/11/2013
    James Oberholtzer, Attorney at Law
    James Oberholtzer, Attorney at Law | James Oberholtzer
    You have raised a good question. There are statutes that protect the elderly from financial exploitation by relatives and others. It will require a factual investigation to see what your mother intended to do of her own will (when she was competent) and how much was improperly taken from her.
    Answer Applies to: Oregon
    Replied: 7/11/2013
    THE BROOME LAW FIRM, LLC
    THE BROOME LAW FIRM, LLC | Barry D. Broome
    As long as your mother approved of the expenses they are not recoverable. However, when he served as her POA then he cannot spend on himself unless she expressly agreed to it. He should repay all moneys used by him as her POA.
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 7/11/2013
    Attorney At Law | James G. Maguire
    It sounds like he did take advantage of your mother, but whether or not he could be required to make reimbursement is another matter. If there was forgery involved, that would be a clear violation of the law, but it doesn't sound like that's the case. Some states have laws against "economic abuse of the elderly," but your mother is deceased and cannot refute your brother's claim that the money was spent voluntarily.
    Answer Applies to: Louisiana
    Replied: 7/11/2013
    Sebby Law Office
    Sebby Law Office | Jayne Sebby
    If you can show that your brother had undue influence over your mother at a time when she was vulnerable to suggestions or no longer competant to handle her affairs, that he convinced her to give him money for things she wouldn't have funded in earler years, and your brother took advantage of your mother to gain access to her funds for his own benefit, you may be able to get him to refund some of the money. Start by talking with your local county agency on aging. They deal with a lot of this sort of thing. You or the county attorney may need to file suit against your brother in an appropriate court. You will also want to file a complaint any bar association or licensing agency that your brother belongs to as your claim, if proven, may be grounds for disbarment.
    Answer Applies to: Nebraska
    Replied: 7/11/2013
    Stephens Gourley & Bywater | David A. Stephens
    If her will mentions it that would be binding. Otherwise you could sue him, but you would have to prove he took advantage of her against her will.
    Answer Applies to: Nevada
    Replied: 7/11/2013
    Estrada Law P.C. | Michele Ungvarsky
    It is unfortunate however, unless there was a written loan agreement, there is really no why to determine whether your Mother intended to "gift" the money or if she was indeed just loaning it.
    Answer Applies to: New Mexico
    Replied: 7/11/2013
    Noel Law Firm | Elizabeth V. Noel
    If he did not have a POA he may not have had permission and might have committed elder abuse. Check with your probate or estate planning attorney regarding your options.
    Answer Applies to: Maryland
    Replied: 7/11/2013
    Durham Jones & Pinegar | Erven Nelson
    This is a classic case of a son exercising undue influence on an aged mother to the detriment of the other siblings and heirs I suggest that you and the other heirs sue him for an accounting and reimbursement of funds to the estate. There are a lot of excellent lawyers in many states who specialize in this type of matter. This is becoming a big problem in my state, Nevada, since so many people now retire in Las Vegas.
    Answer Applies to: Nevada
    Replied: 7/11/2013
    Martin Barnes - Attorney at Law
    Martin Barnes - Attorney at Law | Martin Barnes
    Based on the background as you provide it, this appears to be a shocking exercise of undue influence. You may have a cause of action but you will want to meet with an Indiana attorney to discuss the matter in greater detail.
    Answer Applies to: Indiana
    Replied: 7/11/2013
    Gates' Law, PLLC | Thomas E. Gates
    There is a case to pursue; however, it is up to the Executor to do so on behalf of the estate. If the probate is closed, you would have to ask the court to open probate to proceed. The executor can request an accounting of your mother's accounts. This accounting will show the extent of your brother's dealings. You will need independent evaluation of your mother's mental state. Since your brother was neither POA or guardian, he could personally be liable to the estate and, in turn the beneficiaries.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 7/11/2013
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